Siting Urban Agriculture on Vacant Lands in Hamilton, Ontario Using GIS
Urban Farming is a type of agriculture that has emerged as a means of urban food production, addressing food insecurity in low income communities. Agricultural runoff, particularly phosphorus, has resulted in the eutrophication of water bodies and the detriment of aquatic life and ecosystems. As such urban agriculture should be sited outside of hydrologically sensitive areas and within low income areas. These two disparate criteria, income and hydrology, along with three agriculturally relevant criteria; slope, aspect and soil type will be used in this study to develop a Multi-Criteria Evaluation (MCE) in order to create a land-use suitability analysis. Additionaly, two constraints; size and development status will be considered when applying the model to vacant properties. The MCE model utilizes a weighted overlay of the five criteria to output a suitability analysis for urban agriculture which is then used to rank vacant properties. This MCE model was then applied to the urban area of Hamilton, Ontario using ArcGIS. The study resulted in a suitability map for Hamilton and the selection of two optimal sites for urban agriculture within the study site.